MADDEN NFL 2002 for Sony PlayStation and PlayStation 2. $70-$90. Rating: NNN
GRAPHICS: Sharp, right down to the stains on your jersey.
ADDICTIVENESS: Prepare to put in some quality time on the couch.
ANTI-SOCIAL FACTOR: There's nothing like tackling your friends.
PROXIMITY TO THE REAL THING: Works well on Saturdays as well as Sundays.
it's getting harder and harderfor sports video games to impress.Every year, the major game manufacturers come out with new editions of their trademark sports games -- Madden 2002, NBA Live, FIFA 2002, MLB 2002. The differences, though, are getting more difficult to spot.
Beyond some fine-tuned graphics and up-to-the-minute lineups, it's hard to make a football or soccer or baseball game markedly different from last year's edition. Is a 2002 lineup worth shelling out $70 for? Clearly, EA Sports thinks so.
Madden 2002 is the new edition of the wildly popular gridiron game. It's as close to strapping on the pads and heading out onto the field for a Sunday afternoon as you can get without the bruises.
The plays are torn from authentic playbooks, players look like themselves right down to the logos on their equipment, and if you screw up, the coach on the side of the field goes bananas.
The game comes with current lineups as well as classic teams, in case you want to relive Scott Norwood's "wide right, no good" horror show in Buffalo.
There are also training sessions available, but they don't seem to work particularly well. No matter how much I worked on my ground game, the computer always staged a late comeback to beat me.
It's fun, addictive and infuriating, but it's also almost exactly the same as the 2001 and the 2000 version of Madden. In fact, as a bonus, Madden 2002 allows you to go back and play a "classic" version of the game.
Isn't getting away from primitive graphics the whole reason you bought Madden 2002 in the first place? For serious football addicts only.